You love your cat and want to do everything you can to make sure they live a long and healthy life. So how often should you take a cat to the vet to keep them looking and feeling their very best? From kittenhood to their golden years - here's what our Novato vets recommend about when to take c cat to the vet.
Keeping Your Cat Healthy
The best way to make sure your kitty has a long and healthy life is to prevent serious illnesses or catch them early when they are more easily treated.
Taking your cat to the vet on a regular basis allows your veterinarian to monitor your cat's overall health, look for early signs of disease, and make recommendations for the best preventive care products for your feline companion.
The cost of routine checkups and preventive care can be a concern for our Bel Marin Animal Hospital veterinarians, especially if your feline friend appears to be in perfect health.
However, taking a proactive, preventive approach to your cat or kitten's health now could save you money in the long run.
Physical Checkups for Cats
Taking your cat to the vet for routine wellness exams is like bringing them to the doctor for a physical checkup. As with people, how often your cat should have a physical examination depends on their age, lifestyle, and overall health.
Healthy adult cats should have annual wellness exams, but kittens, senior cats, and cats with an underlying health conditions should see their veterinarian more frequently.
Preventive Healthcare for Kittens
For cats less than a year old we suggest monthly exams, with their first veterinary appointment taking place when they are approximately 8 weeks old.
Throughout their first year, kittens require multiple rounds of vaccinations to help protect them from common infectious diseases. Kittens should get the Feline Leukemia vaccine and the FVRCP vaccine which help protect your feline friend from 3 highly contagious and life-threatening feline diseases, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1) Feline Calicivirus (FCV), and Feline Panleukopenia (FPL).
Your feline friend will be provided with these vaccines over the course of approximately 16 weeks and will go a long way in helping to keep them healthy their whole life.
The exact timing of your kitten's vaccinations will vary depending on your location and the overall health of your furry friend.
Our veterinarians recommend having your kitten spayed or neutered between the ages of 5 and 6 months to avoid a variety of diseases, undesirable behaviors, and unwanted litters.
Caring for Your Middle-Aged Cat's Health
If you have a healthy adult cat between the ages of 1 and 10, we recommend having them examined once a year. These are yearly physical examinations that are completed when your cat appears to be in good health.
Your vet will perform a head-to-tail examination during your adult cat's routine exam to look for early signs of diseases or other issues, such as parasites, joint pain, or tooth decay.
Your veterinarian will also administer any necessary vaccines or booster shots, talk to you about your cat's diet and nutritional needs, and recommend parasite protection products.
If your vet spots a developing health issue they will explain their findings to you and recommend the next steps.
Geriatric Care for Senior Cats
Cats are typically considered to be senior when they reach 11 years of age.
We recommend taking your senior cat to the vet every six months because many cat diseases and injuries are more common in older cats. Your geriatric cat's twice-yearly wellness check-ups will include all of the above checks and advice, as well as a few additional diagnostic tests to gain additional insight into his or her overall health.
Blood tests and urinalysis are two diagnostic tests we recommend for our senior patients to check for early signs of problems like kidney disease or diabetes.
As age-related issues like joint pain become more common, geriatric care for cats includes a more proactive approach to keeping your feline companion comfortable. Ask your veterinarian how often you should bring your senior cat in for a routine exam.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.